Your dog's barking is driving you mad? I don't doubt it. It would drive me crazy, too. And it has.
But there is a solution. It's you!
Not what you thought I'd say? Dogs don't bark to hear their own voices. Even if they quite enjoy them. They bark for a reason. Like we yell for a reason. Fingers crossed that you can figure out the cause and the cause can be removed. If it's as easy as that, outstanding.
Sadly. Irritatingly. That is typically not the case. The barking motivations can be simple or complex:
- Separation Anxiety. Who wouldn't want to be with you every second of the day? Fear of fireworks or thunderstorms is another. They can be loud and scary, you know!
- Trying to Get Your Attention. Wants to play with you. Right now not later.
- Warning People That They Shouldn't Come Around. It's their territory. Don't enter it, strangers. Or letting you know there is someone at the door. They'll protect you. Don't worry about it, human.
And the list goes on … Be a detective. Keep a log if you need to. What is your dog barking at? When is your dog barking? And where is your dog barking?
You have to figure out why, when and where, then the training begins. And training is involved no matter why your dog is yapping your ear off (Unless you were one of those lucky owners and able to remove the cause.)
- Exercise Mentally and Physically. Big dogs, little dogs. Doesn't matter. They need exercise, mentally and physically. Pent up energy and boredom are a big cause behind barking. Play fetch, take walks. Everyday. Twice a day. More if you need to. A tired dog is a happy dog and owner.
- Bark Control Products. These are tools to help you with training, but you still need to be involved. Depending on why and where your dog is barking, find the right bark control device to give you support and reinforcement.
- Do Something Else, Dog. Teach your dog to do something else. Something that can’t be done while barking. Instead of saying, “Stop barking,” tell your dog to go to their bed. Dog goes to bed and stops barking, then dog gets a treat. Dogs love treats.
- Reward the Right Behavior. When your dog stops barking, your dog gets a reward. Not the other way around. Treat does not get behavior. Behavior gets treat. Live by this rule for all dog training.
- Be Patient and Allow Time to Learn. Most dogs won't learn the first time around. In fact, count on your dog making you work for that good behavior from him. Show patience as most dogs need two weeks or more to figure a new skill or behavior. It's like any habit. It's got to be broken, then a new one put into its place.
- Be Consistent. Once you choose a training tool or method, don't waiver. Don't let that adorable puppy face sway you from sticking to your guns. Be consistent and make sure your whole family is, too. Dogs test limits and they will take advantage of the weak. I promise you that!
- Ask for Help. Whether it's Good Life's Bark Control Experts, a local dog trainer or my good friend, Google. I recommend asking for help from whoever you have access. Having someone to express your frustration to along with getting tips will help your struggle. Friends with formerly barking dogs are an excellent resource, too. Or they may know someone who has gone through this.
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